Ensuring food safety in a Net Zero world

In an exceptionally challenging and changing climate, Tom Southall, Policy Director at the the Cold Chain Federation, outlines some key food safety considerations.

Over the past two years, businesses that store and move food as part of the UK’s cold chain have navigated an extended period of extreme pressure. The ongoing uncertainty and sudden dramatic changes of the pandemic, the impacts of various post-Brexit changes, the energy crisis, and long‑term industry trends have culminated in a series of unprecedented lateral challenges. These include cold store stockpiling, consumer panic-buying, changing supply-chain relationships, a labour shortage extending to both drivers and warehouse staff, and a steep rise in energy costs.

While we hope to be through the worst effects of Covid disruption and moving in the right direction on workforce recruitment and retention, there is no clear end in sight to the energy crisis. Moreover, some major Brexit changes for imports are yet to come into force.

While this upheaval has demanded swift and challenging operational changes, maintaining food safety standards has been non-negotiable. In the future we can expect further tests to the resilience of the food supply chain, and increasingly stringent regulation related to the UK Government’s target for a Net Zero economy by 2050. Food safety compliance systems must therefore be resilient, agile and forward-facing.